Another Bamacross weekend flies by; and again, I’m speechless. The Anniston Double-Down was quite possibly the most fun course thus far. With a fast start on the pavement on the backside of the course, racers came in hot to a big, sweeping turn into the shoot to the first set of barriers. Then, racers encountered a good amount of tight, grassy twists and turns, some uphill barriers, and of course the buttery smooth goodness of the most randomly placed beach volleyball court in the history of public parks. The course was rad and the crowd was incredible. The music… not so good, but it gave me an opportunity to think of worse songs that could have been on an 8-track playlist. This has definitely been one of the most epic weekends since joining this great cycling community in August. Hope y’all will let us stick around.
I participated in four races this weekend: singlespeed and Cat 3 on both days. Luckily, the race schedule had a nice gap between heats. I couldn’t have done a repeat of Cullman! Saturday’s singlespeed race began around 4:45. I had warmed up with two practice laps and a spin around the pavement, but between the time we arrived and race time, the temperature had dropped at least ten degrees! And it only went down from there. I went from 9th to 6th, and went back and forth with Hardwick and Stuart for around a lap and a half. I had just put a new tire on my monster cross machine (Redline Monocog 29er w/ Woodchipper bar J) and burped it completely out of air with around 3 laps left. I was inadequately prepared for such an event, as I left my 15mm wrench, tubes, and CO2 in the car. So, I rode the last three laps on my rim. I still managed to place 7th, but was a definitely bummed not having the opportunity to compete. At that point, there was a lot of racing to be had, so I got over it pretty quickly.
There was a nice break between the first heat and the 1/2/3 race. I managed to eat some chili, drink 2 beers, and re-hydrate and still have time to sit on my trainer for 40 minutes with breaks to sit by the fire! It was around 40 degrees by the beginning of the 1/2/3 start. I can officially say that I’ve acclimated to the South again. 40 IS freezing. I don’t care what any of those Yankees in Missouri have to say about it…
The 3s went out of the gate hot, and I stayed around 6 back for the beginning section to see how everyone faired on the uphill barriers. Little did I expect, however, I endo-ed (sp?) when two racers decided to dismount in front of me instead of riding over them. I approached the first with too much speed to dismount, but not enough to make my rear wheel over, and I went ass over teakettle, getting my wheel tangled with someone’s handlebar. It probably looked a lot cooler than it felt… After losing around 8 or 9 spots, I put my head down and rode smart through the grass, parking lot, and powered through the sand. I moved back up to 4th or 5th by the line, and kept it going, having to go head to head with Kyle Campbell and Thomas Swann to earn a spot in the front. Those two guys both laid down a good race. Kyle placed second, and Thomas fourth. Michael Enervold was close behind in fifth. Everyone brought their heads and legs for the night race. Of course, this goes without saying for master Dufour. Great race, boss.
After half of a large pizza and six more… I hit the mattress like a compression-wrapped brick. We woke up at 8, pounded some go-go juice, and suited up for another day of hardball racing at the softball fields. Heather and I both raced at 10, each with a pretty happy-go-lucky mindset from the beginning. We lined up with our respective start groups and hit the course once again. I had lined up with Stewart, knowing that he would be a likely candidate to push me through the first half and help me get my legs back from the night before. And that he did; even after trying to convince me that he had nothing left. It turned out that neither of us had enough in the tank to contend with the North Carolinian singlespeed animal. He had pulled the pack for a while in the 3s race the night before, but bowed out with a mechanical. I was glad that he got a strong race in after coming such a long way. After seeing his 30-second lead, Stewart and I sat back and held our own 30 seconds on the 4th place. He made one true attack, and then I attacked later to return the favor. We separated before the long stretch of gravel road on our second to last lap, and I held a small gap all the way to the finish. I finished second, Stewart third. We can both attest to the claim that carbs DO make you faster. It also helped to have a rear tire full of air!
I spent around 25 minutes on my trainer between races, but my legs were quite swollen from the previous three races, and I opted to foam roll rather than turn my cranks. For those of you who foam roll, you know that this is no normal decision. I then massaged my ego with a cheeseburger and a dark beer and enjoyed watching the 4s duke it out. We couldn’t have asked for a better day to race. By 1:30, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun felt great. Brad Hood came in with a set of fresh legs and destroyed the 3s field. I fought hard at the beginning to compete for the second place position, but eventually dropped back around 10 seconds and enjoyed the remainder of the race at a comfortable pace. Mike Enervold rode a strong race, and gave me a run for my money right before the final sand pit when I saw him trailing by only 30 yards! I finished third, and Michael fourth.
Welp, after two weeks in the 3s, it looks like I will be joining the 1/2s next race. Dangit! At least I got my fifteen minutes of fame this weekend. A big thanks to Heather for being such a supportive girlfriend/coach/teammate, and another to everyone who came out and raced, supported, grilled-out, beered-up, photographed, wrenched, heckled, and everything else to make this weekend such an incredible time.
Until next time! Cheers.
After a couple seasons of pinch flatting clinchers and burping tubeless tires, I decided to go all in with tubular wheels and tires this Cyclocross sesaon. I’m running Clement PDX tubulars and so far I’m extremely impressed with the performance and reliability.
It was my first time gluing tubulars and I used the Belgium tape from Cyclocross World and three coats of Mastik One glue on each surface. Some people argue that this is overkill, but my theory is that overkill never killed anyone. As you can see in the picture, it’s not the prettiest glue job, but I “rode em like I stole em” during three races without a hint of rolling off the rim. I even felt the tire roll onto the sidewall on a fast grippy corner where I had to lock up the rear wheel to avoid running over a downed rider. None of my previous tubeless setups would have survived that scenario without burping.
Besides increased reliability, the other benefit is the ability to run extremely low pressures without pinch flatting. So far, the sweet spot for my 80kilo is 36psi rear and 33psi front. The low pressure makes the tires feel extremely smooth on grass, and combined with the aggressive tread of the PDX, the grip is outstanding through mud and loose gravel. They do howl a little more than some other tires on pavement, but there is far more time to be lost in mud and loose gravel than made up on paved sections during a CX race, so I’ll take the tradeoff.
Four Momentum teammates are also using the same tires. The overall consensus is positive, but two of them did manage to puncture both front and rear tires during the first CX race this season. Three of the punctures are holding well with superglue and Stan’s sealant, but the other had to be replaced. None of the others have had issues after 3-4 races, so it might have been something on the course.
Thanks again to Cahaba Cycles.I’ll post an update at the end of the season.
Raced the Cat. 1 19-29 race today in Auburn, AL.
About Time Events held a cross country race on 10 miles of fresh hand-cut singletrack in Auburn’s Chewacla State Park. While you could tell the course was pretty newly built, it still rode fast like a trail that had been ridden a couple years. Kudos to the guys in Auburn for creating a tight, twisty course that still rides fast and lets you carry speed. That’s a tough thing to do.
On to the race…
I started the race with a big effort and got the hole shot. The course was tight and twisty with a few straight and flat sections that could really be hammered. I rode easy on the twisty stuff and tried not to touch the brakes at all. On the first lap I attacked on pretty much every open section that could be ridden fast for a prolonged period.. The first lap went very well. I did lose my way on the trail once (a theme of this season for me) but still finished the first lap as the leader.
The second lap was mostly good but I started to become aware of the fact that I was about to be extremely dehydrated. Since I’m a pansy who easily cramps, I try at least two bottles every hour…which is tough when you don’t have someone in a feed zone…lesson learned that I need to prepare with a Camelbak when the feed zones are too few or far away for me.
Third lap was terrible. I was very dehydrated and cramping constantly. I had been leading the entire race, but one of the experts in another age class passed me on the third lap. I was fading mentally and physically the entire third lap. However, I had enough of a lead from the first two laps that I was able to hold onto first place despite riding my last lap about 4 minutes slower than I would have liked. Pedaling into the finish line, I felt as if I might be about to have a heat stroke. I had powerful pains in my kidneys for several hours after the race…which scared me a little…
Good race overall…I need to ride in the heat more. I’ve been doing a lot of work on the trainer which paid off as expected, but the heat was causing me some undue fatigue.
I’m glad to have another win under my belt. Now I’m looking forward to racing in Fort Payne. Then it’s on to cyclocross training.
There are times that I would forget my head if it weren’t attached, so I have systems to help keep up with stuff. For general training rides and mtb racing, I always pack my tools in a zip lock bag encased in a neoprene sock and stick it in a jersey pocket. The zip lock keeps my sweat from corroding the tools and the sock keeps the tools from impaling me during a crash. Also, I switch between road and off-road bikes so often that it’s easier to keep tools on my body than attached to my bike. My tools consist of a multitool, chain quick link, tire lever, 2 CO2 cartridges and a minipump. During mountain bike races, I replace the pump with an extra CO2 cartridge. I keep a spare tube strapped to every bike that I ride.
I typically use water bottles and can carry up to three depending on the heat and length between stops. For multilap mountain bike races, I try to minimize extra weight by carrying no more than one bottle and having someone hand me bottles during the race. I even have a home-made stand for mtb races where I don’t have support to hand off bottles. Fortunately, support is never an issue during CX races. I’ve even grabbed an entire bike from a spectator to finish the race!
This weekend, Omar Fraser and I had the opportunity to head out to Coldwater Mountain and put in 3 laps on the new, highly-touted 10-mile trail. The following is a brief synopsis of my impressions of the trail.
The trail is easy to find off the interstate and it took about 45 minutes for us to arrive. When you get to the trail, there is a small gravel parking lot with a trail map and it is quite clear which way you should go right off the start. In fact, the entirety of the trail is very well marked and it is easy to find your way around the loop.
The trail begins with about 1 – 1.5 miles of slightly downhill whoop sections – think Jekyll and Hyde and Flow Trail mixed together. This part is easy and quite fun. The next 4 miles are entirely uphill on mostly smooth trail with several switchbacks. This hill can be ridden with some ease due it not being overly steep, but it is also built in a way that you can really push yourself on it from bottom to top.
Following the completion of the climb is about a quarter-mile of trail similar to Boulder Ridge at Oak Mtn. This section leads into a prolonged downhill that is the main attraction of the trail. This downhill is not for beginners. The 3 or 4 miles of downhill are essentially one long flow trail with tall berms, jumps, and dozens of whoops. And it is fun. It is an absolute blast. But it also may be dangerous for those who struggle to control their bikes on these sorts of trails. For everyone on the team, I don’t think riding this downhill would be a problem, but I would not suggest sending someone brand new to the sport to ride this loop. And your first time out, ride the downhill easy and don’t push it on your first lap.
After the downhill, the trail is mostly uphill with a couple flat, fast sections. The very last part of the loop is quite short but seems to go on forever due to it being a bit of ‘false flat.’ I constantly felt at the end like I was putting in a lot of effort for very little speed.
The trail loops back into the parking lot where you began after 10 miles and it makes it easy to refuel when doing multiple loops. I plan to return this summer to do repeats on the long climb, it’s great training for racing at places like Fontana Dam.
Overall, the trail is great. Just be ready to climb and ready for a downhill unlike any other in Alabama.
Bump N Grind is in the books. For some it was the ecstasy of victory, glory, and immortality, but for others it was the agony of regret, disappointment, and just plain bad luck. Some were in both camps as you will see.
First the ecstasy. Omar Fraser crushed his competition in the Cat 1 30-34 Class, 6 minutes ahead of 2nd and 16 minutes ahead of 3rd. Omar’s 2:11:35 finish time would have placed him 4th in the Pros.
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Igor crushed the rest of the Clydesdale Class with a 1:33:39. Nearly 9 minutes ahead of the 2nd place finisher and 13 minutes or more against the rest of the field.
Andrew Boyd finished 6th in the Cat 1 19-29 Class in 2:22:52, retaining boasting rights for the local riders by edging out Sam Porter by 1 minute and John Sedgie Newsom by 2 minutes.
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Jerry Dufour won the Cat 1 Junior Omnium as he continues his domination in the junior category and seems to get better and better. All that training with coach Drew is paying off.
Jerry placed second overall in the Super D with a time of 7:05:62, only 5 seconds off the pace of the Cat 1 Men’s winner, Andy Johnston. But that gave him 1st place in the Cat 1 Juniors. Jerry placed 2nd Junior in the Cat 1 Junior Short Track event. He also placed 2nd in the Cat 1 Junior Cross Country, but that has to go under the Agony category as I will soon explain.
Michael Powell outsprinted Jamie Alexander by milliseconds to place 2nd in the Cat 2 35-39 Class in 1:27:50. This class was a hard fought battle all the way as Michael was only 50 seconds off the pace of 1st place winner Jacob Tubbs.
The Cat 2 45-49 and 50-59 classes started together with a combined start of over 40 racers. The hole shot was highly contested. Michael Balliet managed to retain 4th wheel going into the lake trail but soon established himself at the front and never let up, finishing first in the 45-49 class in 1:28:23.
Hill Balliet placed 3rd in the Cat 2 Junior under 18 Class but there was agony, oh there was agony.
I (Ken Burst) placed 3rd in the Cat 2 50-59 class. I don’t mean to complain, but I felt some agony myself.
Now for the agony.
Randy Kerr was excited about this weekend. So excited he signed up to do the Omnium. The first race in the Omnium was the Short Track. Randy got a good start and was riding up near the front for the first lap. When he rounded the decreasing radius turn at the start of the second lap things went south, and Randy went down hard, injuring his wrist. He left the race to have his wrist looked at thinking he might be able to race the next day, but knowing he wouldn’t be able to compete in the Super D at 3:00 that afternoon. Then he found out the bad news. His wrist was broken requiring surgery and Randy was out of Bump N Grind for this year.
Three flats in two days plus chain comes off three times in the Super D. That pretty much sums up Joseph Dabbs weekend. Joseph was really pumped about Bump N Grind, this year especially. He had been training hard with Pro Mountain Biker and Coach, Drew Edsall (http://www.drewedsall.com/). But on the first day he got off to a bad start in the Short Track and blew up trying to catch back up to the leaders but managed to hang in there for a 5th place finish. Then in the Super D his chain came off three times and he flatted. Turns out the Chain was put on too long by the factory, and Joseph had to take three links out of the chain that night. The next day in the Cross Country Race, Joseph had two more flats. But a post on his Facebook page pretty well sums it up: “Still having fun tho my race was over”.
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What would you do if you were in first place by about 12 minutes, came up to an intersection, and the race marshal directed you to the left? Well Jerry Dufour questioned it in his Cat 1 Junior Cross Country Race. But the Race Marshal insisted that Jerry was supposed to go left. So he did. About 20 minutes later he rolled up to the finish line only to see Elliott Baring had already finished ahead of him. After a quick conversation with Elliott, Jerry realized that the race marshal had directed him around rattlesnake ridge in error. Jerry protested to Stewart Lamp, USAC Southeast Regional Coordinator, but it turns out that the rule is: the racer is responsible for knowing the course. So Jerry ended up 2nd in the XC race.
Hill Balliet was ahead of Carter Anderson the entire race in the Cat 2 Junior Class. Hill knew it and Carter knew it. But when Hill got to the finish line, Carter was already there. Turns out one of the course marshals had directed them in different ways, Carter taking the shorter route and Hill taking the longer. Carter finishing 2nd and Hill 3rd.
I (Ken Burst) was sitting in 2nd in the Cat 2 50+ class, early in the XC race, when I hit a bump really hard with my rear tire. It felt like the rim bottomed out and burped some air. For the rest of the race I nursed that tire along thinking I would refill it with a CO2 cartridge if it went flat, but it never did. It continued to feel soft especially in the corners. Toward the end of the race on the last section of single track I came up behind a slightly slower rider, not in my class, and started looking for a place to pass. Then, Louis Schwarzman came up behind me. It turns out Louis was in my class, but I didn’t know that at the time. Going around the next sharp corner only a short way from the pavement the guy in front of me skids out blocking me momentarily, and Louis passes both of us on the inside. We come out on the pavement shortly thereafter and I started chasing Louise, but it was too late. Louise finished 5 seconds ahead of me. As soon as I caught my breath I checked my rear tire. It was fully inflated. So I started checking around and discovered that my rear skewer was loose. It was the loose skewer that was causing the soft squishy feeling going around the corners. A fleeting thought went through my mind about that rear wheel coming lose gong down Jekyll and Hyde. Maybe I should put myself in the Lucky Category as opposed to the Agony Category.
Lennie Moon had a great start and seemed to be headed for victory. He looked to be in first place in the Cat 1 40-49 Class when crossing the Dam, at least according to the photographs on the H&H site:
That’s after going up Jekyll and Hyde and down the Quarry Road. But somewhere after that Lennie began to cramp. When Hardwick Gregg passed Lennie going down Jekyll and Hyde, Lennie was sitting on the side of the trail totally locked up in what Hardwick described as a total body cramp. Now that’s what I call Agony…mental and physical. Sometimes you’re in great shape, and you lay it all out there, and it still doesn’t come together.
Hi Team. My name is Randy Kerr. I am very excited about racing this season on winning Team Momentum. To give you a little background about myself, I am 55 years old and married.
My wife, Jeanne and I have three children – Kelly, Kaci and Brad. We also have a new grandson, Liam. I attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and I am a graduate of the University of Alabama. I’ve owned my own business, Southern Landscaping, since 1993. I’d also like for you to meet my shadow, Tucker. This is what he looks like!
Tucker tops in at about 220 pounds and runs like a freight train. Tucker’s got Team Momentum’s back!
So, this my first attempt at a Team Momentum blog post! That’s funny because our first ‘cross season is way past over. Anyway, I’m excited to race the Cohutta100 this Saturday. I’m hoping for good legs and I should have them since I’ve been able to put together a 15 and a couple of 17hr weeks lately. This photo is what I have to do sometimes to get that done. I’m pretty sure this hotel room was in Miami and I sat on the trainer for 1.5hrs that night and 2hrs the next day. Gotta get it in…
Here’s a shot from two weeks ago. This is what can happen if you attempt to follow Joe Dabbs down Jekyll & Hyde! Beware!!!
I’m all healed up now so no worries. Notice I still have all my teeth…
Anyway, back to Cohutta. My strategy is the same as always for endurance races. Start hard but not too hard and take what my legs will give me. I’m going to make sure I stay fueled up and put some Cokes in my drop bags. That stuff is rocket fuel! Other than that, if I get in a bad patch, just keep rolling forward. Hopefully I’ll post a positive race report next week.
wow, march went by fast! work, train, work, vacation, train, work…what’s wrong that list…no racing…I need racing in there to make me happy! For the first time in years, my racing schedule didn’t start in March. Partly because of work and vacation but also because of cross season not ending until Jan 28th. I really wanted a few months of staying home on the weekends and just training around town. I love my bikes and love to ride and sometimes racing can take that love away because it’s all about specifics. i took this extra time to really pile on some volume and just enjoy the rides. i logged in some of my heaviest weeks of training ever and hope that it pays off in the later part of the season. Plus I got a new bike, thanks to Orbea, and wanted to make sure i had plenty of time to get it dialed in and become familiar with and comfy on it. Considering both the hardtail and big wheels are new to me I thought it would be smart to have some solid training on it before racing it.
Now…I’m back from vacation and it’s all about the mtb! this weekend will mark my first stab at the xc front in 2012 at the Knobscorcher which is part of the US East Cup/SERC series. i love these races and this venue because it’s truly what real xc racing is all about. the fitness is still up in the air but that’s why this weekend will be a great test, to see where I’m at and what i need to do to get back at the level i want to be at for this year.
I kicked off my mtb race season yesterday with the Cheaha Mountain Express
. All expert classes went off at the same time and Andrew Boyd punched it hard off the start to take an early overall lead. I was sitting in 3rd position as we entered the woods, but Andrew and the rider behind him took a wrong turn and I stayed on course to take the lead. Jerry Dufour stayed behind me within earshot during the first half of the 1st of three laps, but once the initial surge settled down, I rode solo to take the fastest lap prem and race win. Cheaha was a fun early season race for me, but the big standout had to be Jerry. At 14, he turned the second fastest lap and race time of the day. Considering that most racers have thousands more miles in their legs and years of experience, Jerry has a bright future of racing in front of him! Igor Nikolic and Randy Kerr rounded out the great Team Momentum performances with race wins in both of their classes. Overall, it was a strong showing by Team Momentum with all 5 team participants making the podium!